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Taschen: Murals of Tibet

Click here to go the Taschen site for further information on “Murals of Tibet” and to purchase.

Murals of Tibet
Photographs by Thomas Laird
Texts by Thomas Laird, Robert Thurman, Heather Stoddard with Cameron Bailey, and Jakob Winkler. Bookstand designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Architect Shigeru Ban.
Edition of 998, signed by HH the Dalai Lama
2 volumes, TASCHEN

Murals of Tibet vol.1, left and vol. 2, right, on stand designed by Shigeru Ban

Murals of Tibet vol. 1 and vol 2 with stand designed by Shigeru Ban, in presentation box.

The Dalai Lama granted Thomas Laird fifty hours of interviews for his last book, a history of Tibet. During those interviews he explained that ancient murals in Tibet were a primary cultural touchstone used not just during his own education, to illustrate lectures by his teachers, but for the transmission of many threads of meaning in Tibet during the past thousand years. Used by Tibetans in visualization and meditation practices these images have a remarkable power even for those who know nothing about Tibet.

Seeing these fragile treasures endangered and still relatively undocumented, Laird developed new methods to capture three hundred of the greatest murals painted in Tibet during the past thousand years, at life size resolution: gigapixel images. When a 10th century mural is 5 x 15 ft. his image is the same size, at a resolution of 300 dpi. Prior to the digital revolution images of murals in Tibet of this scale and resolution were impossible. These images allow global access to one of the greatest artistic treasures of Tibet for the first time. More, they are powerful tools to deepen global appreciation and understanding of the practices and ideals embedded within them.

"Murals of Tibet", TASCHEN, March 2018, is being published in their unique “SUMO” Format -- 28 x 20 inch. The Dalai Lama, to support this work, signed all 998 copies.

Thomas Laird, photographer, photo © Allen Boudreaux.

Vol. 2, p. 46, Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama signing the dedication for the SUMO.
To the left Tenzin Takla, right Thomas Laird. Dharamsala, India, 2013.
© Thomas Laird, 2018/ TASCHEN, Murals of Tibet

Vol. 2, p. 47, Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, with a draft copy of Murals of Tibet, Boston, 2014.
Photo Mina Magda © TASCHEN

Details of publication

Murals of Tibet is a 1,026 page, two volume work. Volume 1 is 28 x 20 inches, 498 pages. Volume 2 (the companion) is half that size, 528 pages. Volume 2 has all the text as well as location images; Volume 1 is only mural images—no text.

In recognition of this contribution towards the preservation of Tibetan culture, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has signed all copies of this Collector’s Edition. In the 528-page scholarly companion, while Thomas Laird contextualizes his journey in realizing this visual archive in a personal essay, Bob Thurman gives an insightful account of the spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism. Heather Stoddard researched all the site descriptions and captions of the murals throughout the book with the assistance of Cameron Bailey, except for those of the Lukhang, which were researched by Jakob Winkler.

Vol. 1 pp 211-213, Cemetery Scene (mid-1460s).
Gongkar Chode, Protectors’ Chapel, 2nd floor, right side
Approx. 146 × 307 cm (57 × 121 inches)
© Thomas Laird, 2018/ TASCHEN, Murals of Tibet

Vol. 2, pp 184-185, Mural Shambhala Mural, Origin of the Kalachakra Teachings, Illustration of the First Dharma King
(18th century).
Lukhang, 1st floor, central south wall, 195 × 410 cm (76 × 161 inches)
© Thomas Laird, 2018/ TASCHEN, Murals of Tibet

Vol. 2, p. 330B, Interior of Chapel 2 S b at Gyantse Kumbum with Excellent Generosity Green Tara and the statues of Green Khadiravani Tara flanked by two four-armed attendants, Marichi, left, and Bhrikuti, right.
© Thomas Laird, 2018/ TASCHEN, Murals of Tibet | articles